Taking your skills to the Netherlands
While many expats are overseas because they've retired, a significant number of Britons move away for work.
Taking your skills abroad can be a thrilling prospect, and, of course, where in the world you end up will greatly depend on global career opportunities, but for many Britons, the chosen destination is the Netherlands, one of Europe's most popular expat havens when it comes to relocating for work.
The Netherlands is a country that's keen to find skilled international workers to fill vacancies in many key job sectors, such as engineering, IT, and sales and marketing. And while the opportunities are plentiful, there are a number of regulations, and aspects of the country's culture, that prospective expats should be aware of before they wave goodbye to UK shores.
What to know before moving for work in the Netherlands
The following is a brief guide of what to expect when you take your skills abroad to the Netherlands.
Do you need a permit? – If you're moving from an EU/EEA country (or Switzerland), then no, you don't have to have a permit to live and work in the Netherlands. But if you're planning to live in the country for more than three months, you'll need to register with the local town hall.
If, however, you're moving to set up a business or work as a freelancer, you'll need to obtain valid residency and work permits. If you intend to work for your own company, then you'll be required to have your business plan assessed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency before you can obtain a residency permit. The Agency will decide whether your business activities will be beneficial to the Netherlands. You can find out more about this process by visiting the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) website.
Sorting out your health insurance – Expats permanently living in the Netherlands and earning a salary there will be required to buy health insurance. Health care is known for being of a very high quality in the Netherlands, and it's also expensive. Only a basic level of insurance (with prices starting at approximately €100 per month) is required by law. Remember that receiving professional advice from a financial adviser can help you plan your finances effectively. So, if you think you'll need to purchase a more extensive (and, therefore, expensive) healthcare policy, Blacktower can help you plan for this by helping you make the most of your money, allowing you to meet your financial goals successfully.
It will help to speak Dutch – English is widely spoken throughout the Netherlands, which means learning the language is not a strict requirement. That said, it's much easier for you to fit in with your new colleagues if you can speak a bit of their native tongue. Speaking Dutch will also help improve your chances of career progression and of finding work if you ever decide to change jobs.
The cycling culture – If you usually travel to work in a car, moving to the Netherlands may well lead to you discovering a new way of commuting. Bike riding is big in the Netherlands, and even if you aren't into cycling that much, you may soon find it's simply the most convenient way to travel. For longer distances, trains and buses should suffice. By all means, import your car if you wish, but you may soon find you don't use it nearly as much as you did back home.
Tax breaks – As an expat, there is a tax ruling that entitles highly skilled workers, providing they meet a set of requirements, to 30% of their income tax-free. It should be noted, however, that this ruling has recently been under fire and may soon change. Read our blog to find out more about the Netherlands 30% tax ruling and how it could be changing in the near future. If the ruling does change, it could potentially have a significant impact on your financial planning. Again, our expat financial advisers in the Netherlands will keep abreast of all tax legislation and keep you fully informed of how the changes may affect you.
The flexible working hours
Often cited as one of the best aspects of working in the Netherlands is the country's attitude to their work. The Dutch people see free time as equally important as working and a healthy work-life balance is heavily promoted. In fact, in a recent survey by an HR provider, the Netherlands ranked first when it came to employee satisfaction with the main contributing factors being a flexible working schedule and the positive balance between career and family life. It's no wonder many people can't wait to move there.
Receiving help from a Blacktower independent financial adviser
Starting a new life abroad is exciting. Yes, there will be a lot of adjusting to do, but it's a chance to start a whole new chapter of your life – to make new friends, open yourself up to new cultu=ral experiences, and discover another part of the world.
However, the Netherlands is a notoriously expensive place to live. To allow yourself the best possible chance of having a smooth transition from your home country to the Netherlands, solid financial planning is a must. Blacktower has expat financial advisers in the Netherlands (based in Rijswijk, close to the The Hague) to help you work out what is best for your money, including how to effectively build up your pension pot.
Of course, there is also the issue of Brexit to consider, and whether or not the rights of UK nationals living in the EU will change post-Brexit remains to be seen. If you are already in the Netherlands, why not join us at one of our informative seminars, where members of our team discuss all the issues that matter to expats.